Re: RARA-AVIS: Once more into the breech...

Date: 02 Sep 2000

>Weren't Ross Macdonald's early novels self-confessed Chandler knock-offs (or
>modeled closely on the style, I should say)? He went on to find a unique
>voice. Something different, but it has put him in the upper rank of
>hard-boiled writers, too. Yeah, some imitators are able to push past that
>and come into their own later.
I look at writing as a craft, a difficult skill that you have to teach yourself by reading critically and trying to use what you see in other writers. It seems to me that writers SHOULD learn by imitating other writers whose skill speaks to them. As they get good at their job, they begin to be able to alter and surpass their models in various ways. In other words, the hard workers absorb the lessons and go on from there.
(After all -- ALL source material is limited in one way or another.) The unimaginative phoneys stick to trying to copy something; they get only a part of what they're copying and don't manage to develop it. It all seems to me to be perfectly reasonable. Shakespeare did it this way...


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